Since the COVID-19 pandemic began earlier this year, there has been another healthcare crisis looming that can be as invisible as the virus itself. Nearly 50% of Americans say that the pandemic is affecting their mental health, with a national hotline for those having emotional distress seeing a 1000% increase in volume in April.
For those who need to visit the hospital, anxiety and other symptoms of mental illness can be high. During the first five months of the year, hospital visits for life threatening illnesses declined by 42%, but while visits to the emergency room for behavioral health concerns declined in March, hospitals are now seeing an uptick.
As doctors and HCPs prepare to discharge patients, it’s important for hospitals to help patients address mental health concerns as part of their post-acute care plan, which may include follow-up visits with psychiatrists or psychologists in inpatient or outpatient facilities. With hospitals already overloaded and resources limited, having a discharge solution that can offer information on mental health providers can help patients more quickly and effectively find the resources they need to address their behavioral health concerns.
Carelike, a HealthLink Dimensions Company, is now offering mental health provider resources as part of our post-acute care directory solution. Here’s how it can help hospitals and why this addition to our directory is important, especially during the pandemic:
“Nearly 50% of Americans say that the pandemic is affecting their mental health.”
Variety of Behavioral Health Services
Every patient experiencing mental health issues is different, and the Carelike directory solution includes a variety of behavioral health service settings, including inpatient and outpatient, partial hospitalization and day treatment, and residential services settings and providers. Giving patients access to a large quantity of HCPs is also invaluable, as the average wait time for a first-time appointment with a psychiatrist was 25 days even before the pandemic. With many mental healthcare facilities and providers operating under limited hours or capacity, wait times could be even longer, and providing a variety of options for providers and facilities with accurate information can help expedite the process.
With emphasis on social distancing, many HCPs have experienced an increased shift to telehealth treatments, and that’s no different for mental health providers. The telemedicine service Brightside has seen a 50% increase in new members seeking treatment related to mental health, and BlueCross BlueShield’s outpatient mental health appointments increased from 50% to 62% from March to June 2020. Carelike’s directory provides the option to search for mental healthcare providers that offer telehealth services, making it easier for patients to find a behavioral health provider or facility that they can visit without in-person treatment after being discharged from hospital.
Get started with Carelike
Carelike and HealthLink Dimensions’ mission is to use technology and data solutions to make healthcare easier, including the behavioral health sector. If you are a hospital who would like to learn more about our discharge directory solution, fill out the form or contact us!